Wednesday , March 22 2023

UN Security Council voices ‘dismay’ over Israeli settlements


UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has expressed “deep concern and dismay” over Israel’s settlement activity in a watered-down statement replacing a draft resolution that would have explicitly condemned Israeli policies.

The UNSC presidential statement approved on Monday by all 15 members of the council, including the United States also underscored what it called the “obligation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to renounce and confront terror”.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines,” the council said.

The symbolic measure came in response to a decision by the Israeli government earlier this month to authorize thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank and retroactively legalese unlawfully built settlement outposts.

“We are very happy that there was a very strong united message from the Security Council against (Israel’s) illegal, unilateral measure,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, told reporters on Monday.

Last week, the UNSC appeared set to vote on a draft resolution calling for an end to Israel’s settlement expansion.

But reports by several American and Israeli news outlets, citing diplomatic sources, said the PA agreed to drop its pursuit of the vote amid pressure from the US government, including promises of a financial aid package.

As part of the deal, the sources said Israel would temporarily suspend announcements for new settlement units and Palestinian home demolitions.

The Reuters news agency said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had drafted the resolution along with PA officials, informed the UNSC that the resolution and vote would be dropped.

The resolution would have demanded Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

Israel captured the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza, in 1967. Since then, it has built settlements housing hundreds of thousands of Israelis on the occupied lands, which Palestinians seek as part of their future state.

International law explicitly prohibits occupying powers from transferring their civilian population into occupied territories. A UN expert has previously called Israeli settlements a “war crime“. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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